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  • Jeff Towle

Cyber Risk in Mergers and Acquisitions

Updated: Sep 7

When participating in mergers and acquisitions, organizations make sure to investigate the risks associated with potential assets. By appraising the costs and benefits of acquisitions, they can make informed decisions to enhance their bottom line, giving them a competitive edge in their industry. But cyber risk can be easily overlooked.


In our technology-powered world, simply doing your due diligence isn’t enough. If you aren’t taking cyber risk into account when making major business decisions, then you aren't seeing the full risk picture. Cybersecurity is such a complicated field to talk about and cyber risk is difficult to quantify, but these conversations are absolutely necessary for an organization’s success. We believe this process needs to be streamlined, so we’ve simplified cyber due diligence to make the process understandable, cost-effective, and hassle-free.


Risk During Change


Cyber attackers love to capitalize on change. Data transfers, merging network systems, and all other aspects of the acquisition process leave you vulnerable to malicious hackers. Any threat vector that passes oversight during a merger could be incredibly damaging: and it only takes one. The whole procedure is much like the baton pass in a track and field relay event.


"Hi, I'm from the new company and I was told to collect all of your usernames and passwords... yeah, it's just part of the checklist. When can I come over?"

Your team is most vulnerable during this transition phase and any mishandling of the situation can lead to disastrous consequences. You’re at risk throughout the acquisition process if you haven’t done your cyber due diligence to verify the maturity of your target acquisition’s cyber defenses.


That’s where comprehensible, comparable cyber risk insights come into play. We’ve used our industry-leading technology to develop the most rigorous cyber risk scoring mechanism, called BreachRisk Score. We can launch our artificial intelligence and automation-backed penetration testing service to give you an accurate breakdown of their threat profile. This 10-point score allows you to see, at a glance, the likelihood of an organization being breached, and it's based on a true hacker's perspective.


Risk When Sharing Results


Information collected during due diligence can be especially damaging if intercepted by attackers. But this need for security must be balanced by a need for transparency during M&A.


"Hi, all. Resending the results of the cyber due diligence penetration test. Lots of interesting findings here. When can the security team address these, and should I send these over to the other teams?"

Bottom line: the right information needs to get to the right people, at the right time. An accidental "reply all" or rogue PDF document could contain sensitive information that actually makes it easier for attackers to cause a breach.


This is further exacerbated when dangerous findings inspires a rapid find-fix-verify cycle, usually without a quality "verify" part of that process. The team will rush to install a patch or network segmentation, but neglect to verify that the "fix" has increased security. These changes must then be cataloged, which could generate more potentially dangerous information.


Streamline Decisions & Reduced Cost


BreachRisk scores are comparable across organizations, helping you make better choices consistently. We make it easy to share security findings with the right people in the right way and to communicate between the server room and the board room.





We recognize that you want to leave the technical details to your IT department while still being in the know, so we compile the specific components that comprise a score into the BreachRisk Report which gives technicians actionable insights. Best of all, our services work around the clock, always keeping you up to date on the status of threat vectors.


A BreachRisk score helps you allocate your resources so you know what to fix to make it harder for attackers, saving you time and money. It’s a business enabler, allowing you to make decisions faster, more confidently, and more efficiently. Top executives recognize that taking the time to do their cyber due diligence isn’t just a cost center - it gives them an advantage over their competitors.


About BreachRisk

Cybersecurity is everyone's business. Just as a borrower’s credit score informs lenders about risk of loaning money, cyber risk scores signal the strength of a company’s cyber defenses. When properly derived, it provides an easy-to-understand and actionable conclusion of a complicated process. There's no better way to find out if an organization can be breached than to ask a hacker.

BreachRisk is a family of concepts and solutions designed to fairly, accurately, and repeatably measure the likelihood and impact of cyber threats to an organization from our perspective: the hacker's perspective.




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